Halfway through reading the second of my Christmas present books, The No-Nonsense Guide to Green Politics, by Derek Wall (2010).
Derek Wall is an economics lecturer and writer (and blogger and tweeter) and a prominent member of the Green Party. His book gives a brief introduction to green politics. So far it's packed with detail but still very readable.
Chapter 1 looks at the history of the global green political movement. Wall identifies four pillars of green politics:
- Ecology: "Green politics is first and foremost the politics of ecology; a campaign to preserve the planet from corporate greed, so we can act as good ancestors to future generations" (p.12).
- Social justice: "Greens argue that environmental protection should not come at the expense of the poor or lead to inequality" (p.13).
- Grassroots democracy: distinguishing "greens from many traditional socialists who have often promoted centralized governance of societies" (p.13).
- Nonviolence: "Green parties evolved partly out of the peace movement and oppose war, the arms trade and solutions based on violence" (p.13).
All of which seem eminently sensible to me.
Chapter 2 looks at the ecological crisis. Safe to say there is one. Green politics could exist without an ecological crisis, but the crisis has led to huge growth in the movement in recent decades.
Chapter 3 looks at the philosophy of the green party. Summarising it in my own words...
- Green politics is based on the belief that everything matters. All people matter, and they all have valuable contributions to make to the ordering of society. Non-human life matters. The world matters. The ecosystem matters. "While other political ideologies have generally viewed nature as a quarry—something to be dug up and exploited for short-term gain—greens put the environment at the center of their concerns" (p.47).
- Green politics is based on the belief that everything is interconnected. Green politics is thus holistic politics. It stands in opposition to all kinds of reductionism. Human society and the non-human world are deeply interconnected.
These principles resonate very strongly with me as a Christian. All things have been made by God, all things hold together in Christ, and all things are being renewed by the Spirit. Everything matters, and everything is interconnected. (Note that I'm standing very consciously against a spiritual reductionism, which sees human souls as being the only things that really matter in the present created order.)
The rest of the book looks at some more practical implications of all this... Stay tuned!